The Role of the Governess in Jane Eyre

Topics: Jane Eyre, Victorian era, Domestic worker Pages: 3 (1127 words) Published: September 27, 2010
Not just a servant nor a Lady, a governess
During the Victorian Times, being a governess was a good occupation for middle- class women who wanted to keep their status. To work as a governess was not an easy job, but it was one of the few opportunities for women to get a job. In the novel Jane Eyre, the role of the governess is well represented as Jane is humble and submissive, she has to teach and take care of Adele and her social status is above servants but below her master.

To become a governess you had to be not only well educated, but also meek and obedient. These two characteristics were reflected in Jane Eyre as she never answered in a rude way to Lady Ingram after her insults. Clearly, a governess had to do that and do not answer when they were treated badly because they status did not permit such behavior. Even though Jane Eyre had a special personality, she received the insults in the way any governess would have received them. A governess was not a servant, nor a master. One of the problems that governesses had to face was their confusing social status because they were not considered servants but they were also below their masters. A governess had to share places with the servants but also they could attend some family parties in which the other servants could not. Simply put, the governess had a unique status inside the house as there was no other who shared the same category than her. The main role of the governess was to teach and being caretaker of the children. Many families during the Victorian times preferred to have a governess to take care of the children and to teach them as well. It is for this reason that to become a governess you had to be well educated and to manage not only academic areas, but also abilities such as playing the piano, painting and knitting. The governess had also to take care of the children and becoming a second mother, giving them love and teaching them values as well. The boundary of the labor...
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